Everyone needs help sometimes, but asking for that help can be hard, especially if you consider yourself the independent type.
An injury or illness, changes in mobility, or financial issues can all necessitate asking for help – whether it’s help mowing the lawn, help with certain daily tasks or needing a full-time caregiver. Here are four tips to help you ask for and plan for help you may need now or in the future.
- Remember that everyone gives and receives help at various points in their lives – help makes the world go round. Adults help raise children and help one another as friends, neighbors and communities. There’s no doubt you have helped many people in your life, so when you need help yourself, remember that it’s just part of the cycle. Let go of any guilt around asking for help or shame in needing assistance.
- Explore your options. While asking for short-term help or occasional help may not be as difficult, it’s also important to plan ahead for a day when you may need more assistance – even if this is just a worst-case scenario. Depending on the type of assistance that may be needed now or in the future, there are many options, from friends and family stopping by for in-home care, to moving in with a loved one, to assisted living facilities and everything in between. Explore your options, their costs and which would fit best with various scenarios.
- Have honest conversations with friends and family. Once you have determined your preferences – whether they’re for now or a possible future scenario – sit down with your loved ones who may form your “caregiving team” and discuss your thoughts and plans. Let them know what your preferences are for different scenarios and see if you’re all on the same page. If your plans might involve help from certain parties, such as moving in with an adult child, make sure they feel comfortable with these options. It’s also important that various members of the caregiving team feel supported. For example, maybe one adult child would welcome you to move in with him or her, and another who lives farther way could pitch in, in other ways, such as taking over while the primary caregiver takes an annual vacation.
- Think legally and financially. Whether it’s paying for in-home care or a question of who will have power of attorney in a worst-case scenario, there are legal and financial issues around current and future needs. To learn more and access additional resources, visit the National Care Planning Council, and visit the resource links below.
While asking for help and planning for help you may need in the future is certainly not a fun topic, it’s an essential one. With a plan in place, you can set about enjoying life to its fullest and savoring each moment.
Prepare to Care: A Planning Guide for Families – AARP.org
Planning for Your Future – EverydayHealth.com